Sunday, January 20, 2013

Coming Soon

We took a long vacation from the Blog....All kinds of cool stuff coming from the K-Zone soon.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Klickitat Trail

Located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, the Klickitat Trail follows the lower 31 miles of an old railroad corridor that once linked the towns of Lyle and Goldendale. This railbanked railroad corridor has been converted to a hiking, biking and equestrian trail that offers spectacular river and canyon views throughout its length. The first 17 miles follow the Klickitat River, a nationally designated Wild and Scenic River...(keep reading)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


"If people don't occasionally walk away from you shaking their heads, you're doing something wrong."  

-John Gierach


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Looking forward to this:

Lots of great stuff coming in the next issue!

This one will be a collectors issue around our place!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Public meeting regarding the Klickitat hatchery

The BPA is proposing to build another hatchery facility on the Klickitat designed to "increase the abundance of spring chinook and steelhead natural spawning," and "decrease the impacts of non-native fall Chinook and coho programs". While the projects purported benefits are to reduce the impacts of hatchery propagation on native spring chinook and summer steelhead it would also build two new hatchery facilities in the klickitat basin to accomplish that goal, a concerning contradiction given the already out of control nature of hatchery supplementation in the basin. 

Spring Chinook and steelhead are native to the klickitat however the construction of a fishway at Lyle falls and misguided hatchery programs have led to introduction two non-native species (fall Chinook and coho) into the upper watershed creating a situation which poses a significant threat to wild salmon in the basin. A recent report by the Columbia River Intertribal Fisheries Commission (CRITFC) identified genetic introgression between introduced fall chinook and native spring chinook and revealed that at present wild steelhead are outnumbered by their hatchery counterparts approximately 5:1 in the Klickitat. Both situations are extremely disconcerting and do not bode well for the genetic integrity or productivity of the river's wild stocks. 

The proposal to reduce the number of non-native smolts released into the Klickitat is a tiny step in the right direction however the idea of releasing non-native species into the river at all is lunacy, particularly when it has been established that fall Chinook are swamping the indigenous genetic material of the native spring Chinook stock. At an absolute minimum all fall Chinook and hatchery coho should be sorted out of the upriver population at the Lyle Falls fishway, making them available for tribal harvest and eliminating any risk that they spawn in the wild. 

Policy makers at the Yakama nation appear fixated on hatchery reform as a cure all to the well known ills of hatchery supplementation, however their hope that moving the steelhead program to a "state of the art" integrated program will somehow reduce the risks posed by the hatchery program is not rooted in reality. Instead it's another expensive hatchery program that doesn't address the problem of the hatchery fish being there in the first place. Furthermore it would likely increase the total number of steelhead being released in the basin by 80,000 fish and increase the number of spring chinook released by 200,000, implementing a production hatchery using broodstock taken from an ESA listed population of wild fish. This is a terrible idea and frankly might be a step back from the current conditions on the Klickitat. Furthermore, despite the assertion that the new program would address the threat posed by fall chinook the plan calls for the continued release of 4 millionnon-native fall chinook into the Klickitat each year. 

The proposed hatchery upgrades on the Klickitat are nothing more than an expansion of hatchery operations in the watershed, veiled in the misleading language of its purported and clearly farcical "conservation benefits". None of the 3 options on the table lead to a reduction in the overall number of hatchery fish released into the Klickitat. 

A public meeting on the draft EIS is being held this Weds August 10th from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. 
at the Lyle Community Center. 5th Street and State Highway Lyle, WA 98635 

If you fish the Klickitat or live in the area please turn out and tell the BPA not to fund any new hatchery facilties in the Klickitat until the underlying problems are fully addressed. This plan is an abomination against wild fish in the basin and highlights the BPA and YKFP's singular focus on hatchery production and lack of interest in instituting policy that will lead to real recovery of wild fish in the watershed. 

The BPA is accepting comments on the Klickitat EIS, please let BPA know that we wont tolerate the wild and scenic Klickitat being managed as yet another hatchery raceway. 

Comment at: 
Thanks to: 
for getting the word out.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Last week at the Drift.

Thanks for having us! We wanted to share some photos of our time at the Trey Combs day:

 Tegan loves Trey!
 Keith gets mugged by Tegan.
 Tegan, Marty, Bruce.
 Trey and Phyllis.
 Trey, Roger, and Bruce.
Thanks Jeff and Jan!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Grilse Rods

Grilse Rods by C. F. Burkheimer and Trey Combs 

Twenty years ago a friend and I were fly fishing for fresh run grilse steelhead (one-year ocean steelhead) along a long gravel bar on northern California’s Klamath River. I was casting a 4-weight rod and fishing #10 flies, mostly Night Dancers. The chrome bright steelhead ran mostly from 18-23 inches; our largest was an ancient 25 inch buck that was probably ascending the river for the fourth or fifth time—hardly a grilse. Many thousands of the steelhead were in migration and hooking a dozen from a single casting station was possible.

A lot of thoughts ran though my head. The fish were as beautiful as any angler could wish for, indeed, were I enjoying such fishing in Montana, there’d be a “Blue Ribbon” on every fence post. But the overriding thought was what it would be like to fish a 4-weight two-hand rod for the same fish? The Klamath and Trinity rivers offered hundreds of miles of this fishing. In the fall, southern Oregon’s Rogue above Grant’s Pass offered grilse and older steelhead in the four to five pound range. The Grande Ronde and Idaho’s mighty Snake were both one-year ocean steelhead waters. I thought, too, about some of the rivers I’d fished in Montana, the Madison, of course, but also the Big Hole and Big Horn. What advantages could I bring to my fishing if working a Muddler, or streamer, or a hopper pattern with a 4-weight two-hand rod of 11 feet or so?

Years later during several seasons I fished a number of Russia’s salmon rivers in the Kola Peninsula. The Varsuga that led to the White Sea in the southern Kola had a dominant grilse run of 4-7 pound salmon. Every two-hand rod I had was overkill; even my 7 weight single hand rod was more rod than necessary. I thought of a 4-weight or even 5 weight two-hand rod, and I knew that something was wrong with this picture.  Given the need, I was amazed that these rods didn’t exist.
As I detailed in the description of the Grilse #5 in the section on Burkheimer rods, I discussed this grilse series with Kerry Burkheimer in critical detail late in 2010. Scandinavian grilse can run 7-8 pounds and more; the fast growing Skeena steelhead can produce a grilse steelhead of 8 pounds; the average free rising steelhead on the Bulkley is usually well under 10 pounds. A grilse #6 would be more than enough rod to skate a Telkwa Stone, or #6 Grease Liner.

I recall hosting fly fishers on the Babine’s famous Silver Hilton Lodge during the last week of the season, a few days in October and a couple days in November. To my complete astonishment, after several days of hooking trophy Babine steelhead, a large run of grilse came in, very bright steelhead of 5 to 6 pounds. No one in camp had a rod to properly take in all this fun.
Kerry Burkheimer and I decided that a three rod grilse series, 4 through 6, all in 4-piece, would satisfy domestic and Canadian steelhead needs, and would have equal application for Atlantic salmon grilse in the Canadian Maritimes. The rods would be designed and produced in one-inch increments starting with an 11’ 4” #4 rod. The first rod would be the 11’ 5” #5 rod.
As the idea took hold, Kerry expanded the series to first include a #7, and then added a #8 and #9. Why? No one needs an 11’ 9” #9 two-hand rod to fish for a 6-pound steelhead or Atlantic salmon. The answer is that the series meets the increasing demands by fly fishers for shorter, fast action rods to cast Skagit and Scandi type lines. There is also the mentioned convenience of the grilse series being built as 4-piece models. This advantage cannot be over stated. You carry the rod with you inside a floatplane or helicopter (no need to strap the rods to the skids), or easily tied down to a raft. For the weak caster, casting a heavily weighed Bunny Leech overhead for a trophy Alaskan rainbow is a pleasure rather than an effort in futility.             
Each rod features a pewter reel seat, comes in a forest green finish, and offers refinements not found in stock models.  
As these additional models become available, I’ll discuss their application in greater detail.

Hope to see you Saturday at the Drift in Klickitat,

Trey Combs